Sunday, March 8, 2015

Meet the Novelist: Mairead Case

Mairead Case

Mairead Case is simply a mensch. I first encountered her in person in 2013 at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics Summer Writing Program. (We were lucky participants of a two-day workshop with Anne Carson & Robert Currie.) It turns out that we had both lived in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago at roughly the same time, just blocks from one another. On that day we met in Boulder, the color of the fragrance I was wearing (Norne by Slumberhousematched Mairead's tornado green nail polish. What chance did I stand against kismet?

Columnist at Bookslut, poetry teacher at Denver Women's Correctional Facility, PhD student in Creative Writing at University of Denver, Case's first novel, See You in the Morning, will be published by indie press featherproof books in September 2015. You can read an excerpt over at Midnight Breakfast & then pre-order it from IndieBound.

Mairead Case
See You in the Morning

1. Who is your favorite hero/heroine of fiction? Why?

Tonight it's a tie between Argos, the dog who waits for Odysseus to return and recognizes him when he does, and Francie Nolan, the heroine of Betty Smith's A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. As a kid I read that book once every summer, when we visited my grandparents in Nebraska, and I wanted to be Francie's friend so badly my chest hurt. I started drinking coffee for her.

2. Who is your favorite character in history? Why? 

I'm not sure how precisely this answers the question, but one of the papers above my writing desk right now is a list of Black Panther Community Programs (from Oakland), for example: free busing to prisons program. Free breakfast for children program. Free community facility use. The list spans almost twenty years and is incredible. What happened within the community for these programs to function?  Why didn't I know about them until I started working with high school students and churches in Chicago?

3. The quality you most admire in an author?     

  Sincerity, and after that good listening (editing included).

4. What is the oddest fan letter you've ever received?

I think telling someone you heard something they made, and liked it, is super cool even--if not especially!--when it feels weird. (Obviously I'm not talking about creepers here.) Once someone told me that "most of the time I don't know what you're talking about but I feel so much better after reading it." "Most of the time I don't either!" I said. "Thank you!" 

5. What's the last non-work-related book you read that stopped you in your tracks?

Breanne Fah's Valerie Solanas.

Mairead Case's tumblr

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Mairead Case's most recent Bookslut column